Because there's no time like the present to write about the past

Living la vida loca (or, I'm a PhD candidate and all I do is READ)

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The Ol' Brick Wall
Being the now-motivated (ha!) summertime grad student that I am, I made it to campus this morning to do some work on the technology-related project I have.

I am so very, very proud of myself. Next step: edit the report I started typing, then create an appendix. By Friday. In my mind, Phase 1 will be done by that time.

I want to post it online, so I'll have to play around a bit. However, that shouldn't be too hard; I can do it, I just need to actually take care of it.

However, I hit a brick wall with Photoshop. I was going to mock-up some design ideas for this digitization project - although a web design is probably not necessary at this juncture, actually. The reasons for doing it are primarily because I have plenty of time to burn for this project, and I should do some mock-ups because they will eventually be useful.

However, one never realizes how little one knows how to deal with Photoshop until one starts a project like this. I.Am.Screwed.

I have absolutely NO clue what I'm doing. I know what I want to do, but I can't get it to work. I thought I could make layers and do it, but apparently not. So I'm not sure what I'll do. It probably doesn't matter, but I should play around some more and look some stuff up.

I should probably leave it to the professionals....

And I guess this means it's time to think about my dissertation.

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now, wait a minute. how many friends do you have who know photoshop well? (like myself, for instance.) give a call if you need.

i literally had no idea about your photoshop proficiencies! thank you - this is really helpful. i think i'm going to just try CSS and HTML, but I will give you a yell if i return to photoshop.

Photoshop is evil! Just kidding. It's actually an awesome program, I just don't know it as well as InDesign or Illustrator even. But, I can answer some basic questions if you want to send some via e-mail. :-)

Thank you. :) I'm thinking now that I can probably just do it in CSS and HTML - which is easier for me, and probably makes more sense in the long run. :)

Did you post yesterday on H-net about being stuck for ideas on formulating a research question?

You found me! Yes. :)

My advice, which is rather basic is to think about your project in terms of the other historians who have generally worked with it.

What are they arguing? Do you want to back it up with more evidence? Do you want to refute a particular historian's argument? Will you use similar sources but in a different way?

Or are you trying to legitimize and break ground with a new topic and simply (not that simple really) justify its worthiness for historical inquiry?

Maybe these are obvious, but they are good basic starting points it seems.

Thank you; these *are* very good questions. I am basically working with a lot of new ground, so the whole "what's the point? what's the payoff? why is this important?" angle is crucial - particularly for the department I'm in (which, for the long run, is a good thing, but starting out, it complicates things).

My final project was also a breaking new ground.Basically expanding the scope geographically on a topic that has been done lots before. So really I had a very limited historiography in my paper, which was really fine in the end. Had the length been longer, I could have added more, but what was directly relevant to me was only a few books.

I think you won't fully know the point until you get into the research. Hopefully your advisors will understand that. I didn't really have a good argument until after I turned in my first 15-20 pages in a very rough draft. Even then it took another minor draft to really solidify the point.

You may also want to think of it too based on the sources you have available. If there are particular collections, be sure to look at their finding aids very early on. By anticipating what the collection holds, you can perhaps draw questions from that.

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